This week’s roundup is all about literary events happening around Oakland. Some of the events highlighted this week are part of the Beast Crawl Literary Festival, and others are stand-alone events. There’s also an ongoing exhibit at Creative Growth Art Center and a fundraiser for an elderly ice cream vendor who was recently robbed in Fruitvale.

If there’s an event you’d like me to consider for this roundup, email me at If there’s an event that you’d like to promote on our calendar, you can use the self-submission form on our events page.

‘Text Me: Exploring Typography in Art’ at Creative Growth Art Center

Pen and colored pencil on paper artwork by Willam Tyler. Credit: courtesy of Creative Growth

How does typography play a role in communication as well as function as an art form itself? That’s what this exhibit, on display now at Creative Growth Art Center, seeks to answer. Creative Growth is an Oakland nonprofit that provides studio space, support, and exhibition opportunities to artists with developmental disabilities. The exhibit, on display through Sept. 2, highlights the ways in which several Creative Growth artists—William Tyler, William Scott, Rosena Finister, Eli Cooper, Chris Corr-Barberis, and alumni Dwight Mackintosh—are utilizing words to convey everything from emotions to social commentary.

On display through Sept. 2, see website for times, Creative Growth Art Center, 355 24th St.

A conversation with historian and author Frank Uhle

Left: Frank Uhle, right: cover of his debut book. Credit: courtesy of publicist

Cultural historian Frank Uhle is celebrating the release of his debut book, Cinema Ann Arbor: How Campus Rebels Forged a Singular Film Culture. The book explores film history in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the city’s theaters—including some that have closed down—stories about college students from the University of Michigan who went on to became filmmakers, the history of campus cinema societies at the university, and how the history of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan are intertwined. Uhle’s book tour includes one stop in Oakland and will include screenings of rare and experimental films.

Friday, July 21, $10, Shapeshifters Cinema, 567 5th St.

Beast Crawl Literary Festival

An event from a past Beast Crawl Literary Festival at Feelmore sex shop in downtown Oakland. Credit: Beast Crawl

The popular literary festival that launched in 2012 will take over 19 venues in Old Oakland and downtown this weekend. Bibliophiles will get to mingle with authors and other book lovers, discover recently released books, enjoy live spoken word and open mic performances, and get the chance to support local businesses in the area. The literary journey will begin at Latham Square, where attendees can pick up a print version of the festival map that lists all of the events taking place throughout the day. For those who prefer, there’s also an online map

Saturday, July 22, 3:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., see maps for specific events, Latham Square, 1611 Telegraph Ave.

‘Buy out’ for local street vendor ‘Don Juan’

On Monday, footage of an 80-year-old ice cream vendor getting robbed in East Oakland went viral on social media. Since the video was shared, two different GoFundMe campaigns that appear to be associated with the man, identified in news reports as “Don Juan,” have raised close to $20,000. In addition to those campaigns, a group calling itself the Union of Vendors Association, along with Norcal Racing, is hosting a fundraiser called “Buy Out for Don Juan,” where the community can buy ice cream and popsicles from Don Juan’s cart until he sells out. 

Saturday, July 22, 11 a.m. until sold out, Fruitvale Station (outside of Popeye’s), 3080 E9th St.

HOME MADE @ ARTogether literary reading series

Left: Ingrid Rojas Contreras, right: Marcelo Hernandez Castillo. Credit: courtesy of ARTogether

ARTogether is an Oakland-based nonprofit that uses art programming to promote prosperity among immigrant and refugee communities. Now in its second year, this event series, co-hosted by Michelle Lin and Edward Gunawan, highlights and celebrates Bay Area-based immigrant/refugee writers and helps showcase their work to a wider audience. This weekend, there will be a public reading featuring Ingrid Rojas Contreras, the bestselling author of Fruit of the Drunken Tree, and Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, author of Children of the Land: a Memoir—two authors of immigrant backgrounds who have garnered accolades for their literary contributions. 

Sunday, July 30, 6 p.m., free to attend, ARTogether Center, 1200 Harrison St.

Azucena Rasilla is a bilingual journalist from East Oakland reporting in Spanish and in English, and a longtime reporter on Oakland arts, culture and community. As an independent local journalist, she has reported for KQED Arts, The Bold Italic, Zora and The San Francisco Chronicle. She was a writer and social media editor for the East Bay Express, helping readers navigate Oakland’s rich artistic and creative landscapes through a wide range of innovative digital approaches.